Monthly Archives: July 2013


Museum Macros with a Cellphone

On my last visit to the Seattle Art Museum I decided to try to make some macro cha-cha photos with my cellphone. It was fun to put them together and it was  a good learning experience. I’ll explain what I did here, and what didn’t work very well.

The cha-cha technique, briefly, is to take two successive photos with the same camera from different positions, then later assemble the images side-by-side into a proper stereo pair.

For this experiment, I set my cellphone camera to it’s macro setting, held the camera up flat to the museum exhibit glass (when no one was looking), took a photo, then slid the camera slightly to the right to take another photo. The closer the subject, the less I moved the camera. In most cases I slid the camera horizontally only about 1-2 inches. Some subjects were a little further away so I slid the camera slightly more. It wasn’t very scientific, but that was part of the fun. One or two have a slightly hyper-stereo look to them and I sort of like the result.

These images are in cross-eye mode.

I tried another technique that didn’t work well. That was to set the camera to the “multi-shot” setting so that it would take 5 shots in quick succession (within about one second) and while it was shooting, I slid the camera to the right. In theory, I’d be able to pair the first image with each of the subsequent images to get stronger and stronger stereo effects, and I would pick the best pair. In fact what happened was that I got one clear image (the first one) and four blurry ones. Shooting separate images gave much crisper results. Next time, I may just shoot 5 separate images with the camera held still each time, THEN try to assemble the best pair.

Another thing that didn’t work too well was shooting at some distance, particularly without the support of the glass case to keep the camera still. That’s when the noisy CCD in my camera and my unstable hand-held shots become particularly noticeable, as with the Pacific Northwest mask. The museum environment is kept intentionally dark, so it really helps to get close and be still.

And, by the way, shooting photos of art in the Seattle Art Museum is expressly allowed for most of the art objects in the museum.

By |July 28th, 2013|3D Education|Comments Off on Museum Macros with a Cellphone

Poppy turns your iPhone into a 3D camera

Poppy, a sleek and somewhat retro black and orange gizmo, transforms an iPhone into a camera capable of capturing, viewing and sharing photos and video in 3D. Put your phone in the device (which supports iPhone 4, 4S, 5 and iPod Touch) and give the box a twist to begin recording.

So how does it work? Poppy uses mirrors to capture two stereographic images using the iPhone’s single camera. When seen through the viewfinder, Poppy’s lenses combine the two video streams into a single, crisp, 3D video.

“As kids, we loved those old toy Viewmasters, and how they gave you the feeling of stepping into another world. We wanted to let anyone create and share their own immersive 3D scenes too. That’s why we made Poppy,” says Joe Heitzeberg, one of Poppy’s creators.

Another great thing about Poppy is that it works with 3D content that’s already online. Most people aren’t aware, but YouTube supports 3D and has amassed a huge library of 3D movie trailers, music videos, sports clips and user-generated content — and all of it looks beautiful on Poppy. The viewing experience is immersive and natural — much higher fidelity than using red/blue 3D glasses.

Poppy is launching on Kickstarter at under $50 — putting Poppy in the sweet spot for gifts and casual gadget purchases. It also sets Poppy apart from other 3D cameras that have come on the market in recent years, which are more expensive and don’t typically include 3D viewing or sharing functionality.

“iPhone is the world’s most popular camera, and Poppy is the first product that lets the iPhone capture, view and share the world as it is actually experienced — in 3D. We can’t wait to get it in people’s hands and see what they do with it,” says Poppy co-creator, Ethan Lowry.

Please check out Poppy on Kickstarter today.

By |July 4th, 2013|Products, Technology|Comments Off on Poppy turns your iPhone into a 3D camera